Mounting DCC Components

Introduction

Digital Command Control (DCC) equipment does not come in fully self-contained packages which either plug into something or something plugs into them. Power supplies are separate from Command Stations and/or Boosters so there is always a requirement for at least two "boxes" with connections between them. Then there are connections required between the Booster(s) and the layout, and between the Command Station and the throttle, radio receivers, stationery decoders, power managers, etc.

On permanent layouts this is usually not a problem, but on NTRAK layouts which are set up, taken down, set up again, etc., a better method is required. This page describes a series of DCC equipment mounting boards that make each unit self-contained and connectorized — everything plugs in during layout set up and tear down — and ensures correct polarity.

The mounting boards described are functional, but not elegant or beautiful. They permit the easy location of each Booster at the geographical center of each power district for improved power distribution on the layout with less voltage drop. While the boards are specifically designed for Digitrax DCC equipment, they can easily be adapted for any other system. They also make sense for home layouts as a means of improved control over all the wires that normally exist under the layout.

Configurations

While the number of possible configurations are endless, essentially two or three basic configurations will handle almost all NTRAK layout requirements. These configurations are:

  1. Power Supply + Command Station/Booster + Track Connectors.

  2. Power Supply + Command Station/Booster + PM4 Power Manager + Universal Panel or Radio Receiver (optional) + Track Polarity Switches (optional) + Track Connectors

  3. Power Supply + Command Station/Booster + PM4 Power Manager + Universal Panel or Radio Receiver (optional) + LocoNet Repeater (LNRP) + Track Connectors

Examples of some configurations are shown in the photos below:

This board contains a Digitrax PS515 Power Supply, a DCS100 Command Station/Booster, a Universal Panel, and track connectors for a running track and a programming track. Four LocoNet jacks (one on the DCS100 and three on the UP) are available for connection to other devices.

A switchable SoundTraxx Program Track Booster (PTB) is installed as part of the decoder programming connections.

Both the power supply and the DCS100 are secured to the board with Velcro.

This unit is used primarily as a Program Station for programming mobile decoders at NTRAK train shows. It is normally connected to a computer running JMRI DecoderPro via a LocoNuffer-USB. It also acts as a fully-capable Copmmand Station backup to the main Command Station running the layout.

The switchable Program Track Booster provides the extra power needed to program sound decoders.

This is the North Raleigh Model Railroad Club's original Command Station board when it was equipped with Cinch-Jones connectors. It contains a Loy's Toys 10.5A Power Supply (no longer available), a DCS200 Command Station/Booster, a PM42 Power Manager, UP3 Universal Panel, a track connector for a programming track, and 4 track connectors for the outputs of the PM4. One LocoNet jack on the DCS200 plus three LocoNet jacks on the UP3 (two in front, one in back) are available for connection to other devices.

The power supply and PM4 are fastened to the board with screws; the DCS200 is secured with Velcro.

This is the North Raleigh Model Railroad Club's prime Command Station board updated for Powerpole connectors, and with Track Polarity toggle switches. It contains a Loy's Toys 10.5A Power Supply (no longer available), a DCS200 Command Station/Booster, a PM42 Power Manager, Universal Panel, a Powerpole track connector for a programming track, and 4 Powerpole track connectors for the outputs of the PM4. One LocoNet jack on the DCS200 plus three LocoNet jacks on the UP (two in front, one in back) are available for connection to other devices.

The power supply and PM4 are fastened to the board with screws; the DCS200 is secured with Velcro.

This is a Command Station board equipped with Powerpole connectors. It contains a Magnaforce MF615 6A Power Supply, a DCS100 Command Station/Booster, Universal Panel, a LocoNet Repeater (LNRP), a Powerpole track connector for a programming track, and a Powerpole track connector for the mainline.


A switchable SoundTraxx Program Track Booster (PTB) is installed as part of the decoder programming connections.

Both the power supply and the DCS100 are secured with Velcro.

The construction of these board configurations will be described.

Materials Needed

Other than the electronic components (power supply, DCC equipment, connectors), most items can be purchased at a home improvement center such as Lowe's or The Home Depot, and some are available from Radio Shack. The materials required are:

Item

Used For

3/8" Plywood, 2' x 2' Good one side or better

Main base (mounting board).

1/4" Plywood, 2' x 2' Good one side or better

Panel for track connector jacks and UP3/UR91 panels (connector panel).

1" x 2" Lumber, 4' long

Frame for mounting board.

#8 x 1" Wood Screws

Fasten plywood base to 1" x 2" lumber (8 required).

#6 x 1" Wood Screws

Fasten connector panel to base (2 or 3 required).

Nail-on Furniture Glides

Raise base above floor (4 required).

Paint and/or varnish (as desired)

The board can be painted or left natural, however the connector board will need to be coated with gloss paint or varnish so that the designation decals, if used, will adhere.

Velcro

DCC Command Station/Boosters and the Digitrax PS515 Power Supply will be secured to the board with Velcro. Almost any Velcro can be used, but Radio Shack Cat. No. 64-2360 Hi-Temp/Hi-Strength Superlock Fastener is strongly recommended for its strength.

#6 x 3/8" Roundhead Wood Screws

Fasten Cinch-Jones sockets to Track Connector Panel (2 required per socket).

#4 x 3/8" Roundhead Wood Screws

Fasten UP/UR91 to Track Connector Panel (4 required per UP/UR91).

#6 x 1½" Sheet Metal Screws

Fasten Loy's Toys Power Supply to base (3 required).

#6 x ¾" Sheet Metal Screw

Fasten Loy's Toys Power Supply to base (1 required).

½" Metal Spacers

Raise PM42 edge connector above base for wiring terminals (2 required).

Machine Screws, Nuts and Lockwashers

Fasten PM24 edge connector to base (2 required).

Plastic Wire Clips

Fasten wires to base. These are secured to the base with #6 x 3/8" roundhead wood screws.

Small Plastic Cable Tie Wraps

Used to arrange wires on board in a neat pattern.

 

Electronic components that may be required, depending on configuration, are:

 

Item Source

Cat. No.

Description

Power Supply

Digitrax PS515

15VAC @ 5A. Use with DCS100, DB150, DB100.

 

Tony's Train Exchange

MF615

Magna Force MF615. 15VAC @ 6A. Use with DCS100, DB150, DB100.

 

Loy's Toys

MTF-V-5 & MTFC-5

12/14/18VAC @ 5.5A. Use with DCS100, DB150, DB100. Use 14VAC tap for N scale. (No longer available)

   

MTF-V-10 & MTFC-10

12/14/18VAC @ 10.5A. Use with DCS200, DB200. Use 14VAC tap for N scale. (No longer available)

 

Radio Shack

273-1385

12VAC @ 300mA. Use to power PM42.

DCC Equipment

Digitrax

DB100, DB100A or DB100+

5A Auto-Reversing Booster

    DB150

5A Command Station/Auto-Reversing Booster

   

DB200+

8A Auto-Reversing Booster

   

DCS100

5A Command Station/Auto-Reversing Booster

    DCS200

8A Command Station/Auto-Reversing Booster

    PM42

Power Management System

   

UP3, UP5, Other

Universal Panels

   

UR91, UR92

Radio Receiver (UR90 IR Receiver is not recommended for NTRAK layouts.)

Connectors

Cinch-Jones

S-302-AB

Chassis Socket, 10A

   

S-302-CCT

Cable Socket, 10A

   

P-302-CCT

Cable Plug, 10A

  Powerpole

S-302-AB

Connector, 30A

   

S-302-CCT

Housing, 30A

 

Notes:

  1. Equivalent power supplies sold by Tony's Train Exchange (TTX) and Springhaven Shops are not recommended for use on NTRAK layouts, especially at Train Shows unless mounted in a properly-grounded metal cabinet.

  2. Powerpole and Cinch-Jones connectors are available from NTRAK, Inc. as well as electronic supply houses.

You must be careful to match the current rating (amps) of the power supply to the current requirements of the Command Station and/or Power Booster. The current provided by the power supply must equal or exceed the current requirement of the DCC equipment it is powering. For example:

  • A 3A power supply cannot be used to power 5A or 8A DCC equipment.

  • A 6A power supply can power 5A DCC equipment, but not 8A DCC equipment.

  • A 10A power supply can power 5A or 8A DCC equipment.

For safety and protection of equipment there should always be a fuse or cicruit breaker between the power supply and the DCC device being powered. This fuse or circuit breaker should be sized to the maximum current draw of the DCC device being powered. For example, if a 10A power supply is used to power an 8A device then the fuse or circuit breaker should be 8A.

Assembling the Board

Cutting and Assembling the Base and Track Connector Board

Begin by cutting the wood to size. A power saw, such as a table saw, is recommended for cutting the plywood as it ensures a smoother and straighter edge, not to mention much easier and faster. Hand cutting works fine for the 1" x 2" lumber. The dimensions of the base will be:

For Power Supply, Booster and Connector Panel only:

7" x 12"

For Power Supply, Booster, PM42 and Connector Panel:

9" x 12"

Cut the wood as follows:

Item

For 7" x 12" Base

For 9" x 12" Base

Qty

Size

Qty

Size

Plywood Base

1

7" x 12"

1

9" x 12"

1" x 2" Lumber

2

9"

4

9"

1" x 2" Lumber

2

7"

Plywood Connector Panel

1

5½" x 12"

1

5½" x 12"

 

After the sawing of the wood is finished, be sure to sand all surfaces, edges and ends smooth so there won't be any chance of getting a sliver or being cut by rough edges.

The photograph shows the wood pieces after cutting and sanding (photo shows 9" x 12" board).

Assemble the 1" x 2" lumber to the base as follows:

  • Using a C-clamp, fasten the appropriate length of 1" x 2" to the front edge of the board, even with the edge and with the ends even with each side. From the top of the plywood board, use a #8 x 1" pilot drill to drill and countersink a hole for the #8 screw about 1" in from each end of the 1" x 2" board. Insert a #8 x 1" wood screw in each hole and tighten.

  • Repeat for the 1" x 2" board at the rear of the plywood board.

  • Using a C-clamp, fasten one of the 9" lengths of 1" x 2" lumber to one side of the plywood board, even with the edge of the plywood board. The 1" x 2" board should almost exactly fit the space. From the top of the plywood board, use a #8 x 1" pilot drill to drill and countersink a hole for the #8 screw about 1" in from each end of the 1" x 2" board. Insert a #8 x 1" wood screw in each hole and tighten.

  • Repeat for the remaining side of the plywood board.

  • Turn the assembly over so the 1" x 2" boards face up and nail in the four furniture glides, one at each corner of the base.

The following photographs show the assembly to this point:

Top View

Bottom View

Next will be cutting holes in the track connector board for the Cinch-Jones jacks and, optionally, for a Universal Panel (UP) or UR91. The number of Cinch-Jones jack holes will depend on the configuration, from as little as one hole for a pure Booster without a PM4 to as many as five holes for a Command Station/Booster with a PM4.

A 5/8" hole must be drilled for each Cinch-Jones socket. With a pencil lightly mark a horizontal centerline 1½" down from the top of the Track Connector Panel. Location of the holes on this line is a matter of personal preference and configuration. It is suggested, however, that the first socket hole be located 1½" forward of the rear edge, then each additional track socket be forward by 1½". A programming track socket should be spaced forward of the last track socket by 2". This spacing will leave at least 4" at the front of the track Connector Panel for a UP3 or UR91.

Drill the socket holes as marked and then sand any rough edges smooth.

Decide on the specific location for a UP or a UR91. For a UP or a UR91 a 2-7/16" wide by 1½" high opening must be cut. Locate the upper edge of this opening 1" below the top of the Track Connector Board. Using appropriate tools cut the opening and then sand the edges smooth.

Do not mount either the Cinch-Jones sockets or the UP/UR91 at this time.

Painting/Varnishing the Base and Track Connector Board

At this time if a finish other than bare wood is desired, the base and Track Connector Board should be painted in whatever color is desired or varnished. Because semi-professional looking labels will be applied to the Track Connector Board using home-made decals, the Track Connector Board should be finished with gloss paint or varnished (even if the base is left bare) so the decals will adhere.

Labeling the Track Connector Board

Perhaps the easiest method of labeling the Track Connector Board is to use a Brother P-Touch label printer with a 1/2" white tape (Prints black lettering). An example is shown in the photo below.

Alternatively, using a computer, a printer and some blank decal paper, reasonably good-looking designations can be created for the various Cinch-Jones sockets on the Track Connector Board. An identification decal should also be created and applied. An example is shown in the photo below.

Create the decals and print them on the decal paper (use white background decal paper if you painted the board a dark color) using a laser printer (ink-jet printer ink will run when the decal is placed in water unless protected by a coat of varnish). Cut out the decals and apply to the board in the normal manner. Once the decals have completely dried and properly adhere to the board, spray a coat of clear varnish to protect them.

Next — mounting the various components on the base and Track Connector Board.

Mounting the Components

Components will be attached to the mounting board base in the following order and location:

Power Supply

Left rear corner

Command Station/Booster

Left front corner

PM42 Power Monitor (Optional)

Right side of power supply

Track Connector Panel with Cinch-Jones Jacks and UP (optional)

Right side of mounting board

Wiring the components together is discussed in the next section.

Mounting the Digitrax PS515 Power Supply

If you are using the Digitrax PS515 Power Supply, it will be fastened to the base with Velcro. Due to its weight the use of the Radio Shack Cat. No. 64-2360 Hi-Temp/Hi-Strength Superlock Fastener is highly recommended for this.

The PS515 should be oriented so the line cord with AC plug will be to the rear.
 
 

Mounting a Loy's Toys Power Supply

If you are using the Loy's Toys metal housing for your power supply, be sure to mark the spots on the base where you must drill holes for the screws to fasten the metal case to the base before you assemble the power supply. Place the Loy's Toys case on the base in the desired position at the left rear, about ½" in from the rear of the board, and with a pencil mark through the holes at the bottom of the case. Drill 1/8" holes through the base at the points marked.

If you are installing a PM4 Power Monitor you must provide separate power for this device. This can be done by mounting a small transformer (Radio Shack Cat. No. 273-1385) in the Loy's Toys power supply, as shown in the photographs below. Be sure to use lock washers when fastening the transformer to the case, and be sure to bend the wire terminals up so they do not contact the metal case.


 
Loy's Toys power supply showing mounted 10A transformer and other hardware, including (at right) where the Radio Shack transformer is mounted.

 

Once the optional Radio Shack transformer is mounted to the case, you can wire the power supply according to the instructions provided with the kit. When wiring the fuse holder connect the white wire from the line cord to the back terminal on the fuse holder, then connect the side terminal on the fuse holder to the toggle switch, then to one input terminal of the transformer primary. The line cord's black wire should be connected directly to the other input terminal of the transformer primary.

Danger — Read This Notice

unplug the power supply from the wall socket before inserting or replacing a fuse. Never insert or replace a fuse if the input LED is on. Use the fuse cap to insert or replace fuses, and never stick your finger into the opening of the fuse holder. Never open the power supply with it plugged in.

The 120VAC terminals of the Radio Shack transformer(s) should be connected to the 120VAC terminals of the main power transformer. Wiring the transformer(s) in this manner will allow them to be switched on and off by the main power supply switch. The size of the fuse in the fuse holder should be increased by 0.5A from the size provided in the power supply kit.

Wiring from the Radio Shack transformer to the PM4 can be 18-gauge lamp cord. Tie a knot in the cord where it will pass through the rubber grommet in the case, then solder the wires to the 12VAC terminals of the transformer. Push the other end through the grommet.

When finished wiring the Radio Shack transformer check to be very sure that none of the wiring terminals can touch the metal power supply case.

At this point you can test the operation of the power supply, but be very careful as you do it since 120VAC is present on open terminals. Do the following:

  • Be sure the On/Off switch is Off and a fuse is installed in the fuse holder, then plug the line cord into a 120VAC outlet. The red LED should light.

  • Using one hand only, turn on the On/Off switch. The green LED should light.

  • Using an AC voltmeter, check the voltage at the output terminals of the power transformer. Note that this output voltage could be several volts higher than the tap voltage selected since the transformer is not under load (for example, measuring across the 12 volt taps could give 15 volts). Check also the output voltage of the Radio Shack transformer.

If everything checks out you can proceed to mount the power supply on the base. If something didn't check out, unplug the unit, check that the fuse has not blown and then check your wiring very carefully. Test again.

Put the second half of the power supply metal case in place and secure the top only with four (4) of the sheet metal screws provided with the kit. Do not put screws in the bottom of the case, as these holes will be used in fastening the case to the board.

Three #6 x 1½" sheet metal screws and one #6 x ½" screw will be used to fasten the power supply to the base. Note that the power supply case will not be fully flat with the base after installation due to the transformer mounting screws. Proceed as follows:

  • Place the mounting board on edge with the top towards the left. Hold the power supply in place and insert a #6 x 1½" screw into the bottom rear hole in the board. Using a screwdriver tighten the screw until it grips the power supply case. Do not fully tighten.

  • Insert a #6 x 1½" screw into the bottom front hole in the board. Using a screwdriver tighten the screw until it grips the power supply case. Do not fully tighten.

  • Repeat for the other hole at the rear of the base.

  • Using the #6 x ½" screw, repeat for the remaining hole.

  • Now tighten all the screws until the power supply case is held snugly against the base, but not so tight as to warp the case.

At this point you should have the power supply secured to the mounting base in the left rear corner, as shown in the photograph at below. The line cord should extend out the rear, as should one or two unterminated wires from the second rubber grommet.

Next — install the Command Station/Booster.

Mounting a Digitrax Command Station/Booster

The Command Station/Booster will be fastened to the base with Velcro. The use of the Radio Shack Cat. No. 64-2360 Hi-Temp/Hi-Strength Superlock Fastener is highly recommended. While screws could be used to fasten the Command Station/Booster, it would require drilling holes in the case, which could damage components inside if not done very carefully and would probably void the warranty.

As shown in the photograph below, the front of the Command Station/Booster should be placed about ¾" back from the front of the base so the connector and wiring to the connector do not extend beyond the base.

Use two pads of Velcro mounted on each side of the Command Station/Booster between the rubber feet. One of these pads is just visible in the photograph at the side of the Command Station/Booster.

Mounting the Digitrax PM4 Power Monitor

The PM42's 44-pin connector will be mounted beside the power supply, spaced out 1½". To allow for the wires connected to the wiring pins on the 40-pin connector, the connector itself must be mounted on ½" spacers. It is highly recommended that you solder the necessary wires to the pins on the 44-pin connector before mounting the connector to the board, as shown in the photograph at right. There is little room to fasten the wires to the pins and solder them once the connector is mounted. Follow the wiring instructions provided by Digitrax with the PM42.

The 44-pin connector and spacers can be mounted using appropriate size and length machine screws, nuts and lock washers, or a #4 x ¾" sheet metal screw from the top through the connector and the spacer into the plywood board. The use of a sheet metal screw here is easier and provides a strong enough fastening for the connector. Be sure to position the 44-pin connector with pins 1 and A toward the front.

Do not plug the PM4 circuit card into the connector until all wiring and other work is complete on the mounting board.

Mounting the Track Connector Panel

Begin by inserting the Cinch-Jones S-302-AB chassis sockets in the appropriate holes in the connector board such that the longer slot is vertical and to the right. Each socket is secured to the board using two #4 x 3/8" round-head wood screws.

If you are installing a UP3 or UR91 put the device in place and fasten with four #4 x 3/8" round-head wood screws.

The Track Connector Panel is screwed to the side of the mounting board using either two or three #6 x 1" wood screws placed in the holes drilled previously. This completes the mounting of components on the base, as shown in the photograph.

Next — wiring together all the components as described in the next section.

Wiring Everything Together

Connecting the Components on the Mounting Board

In wiring the components together on the mounting board attention will be paid to the use of proper sized wire gauge for the current to be carried, and to neatness of the finished product. Wires will be carefully routed and held in place with wire clips and/or tie wraps where appropriate. Note, however, that some of the wiring described may not be applicable to your particular configuration.

Digitrax PS515 Power Supply to Command Station/Booster

The low voltage cable to be connected to the Command Station/Booster comes out of the front of the PS515 power supply. This wire will be routed underneath the Command Station/Booster to the AC input terminals on the Command Station/Booster. Proceed as follows:

  • Carefully route the PS515 low voltage cable down and underneath the Command Station/Booster from back to front, being careful to ensure there are no kinks and the cable is kept flat.

  • At the front of the Command Station/Booster hold the cable up against the connector and cut the cable ½" above the connector. Separate the wires for ½" and strip ¼" insulation from each. Twist any loose strands together.

  • Do not tin (solder) the ends of the wires. Insert one wire in each of the "Power In" terminals as far as it will go, and tighten the screw as tight as it will go.

This completes the PS515 wiring.

Loys Toys Power Supply to Command Station/Booster

The low voltage cable to be connected to the Command Station/Booster comes out of the rubber grommet on the right rear of the Loy's Toys power supply. This wire will be routed along the right side of the power supply and held in place with wire clips. It will then route underneath the Command Station/Booster to the AC input terminals on the Command Station/Booster. Proceed as follows:

  • Carefully route the low voltage cable down and along the right side of the power supply case being careful to ensure there are no kinks and the cable is kept flat. Hold in place with wire clips screwed into the base at the right front and right back of the power supply case (see photograph below).

  • Continue routing the cable underneath the Command Station/Booster from back to front, again being careful to ensure there are no kinks and the cable is kept flat.

  • At the front of the Command Station/Booster hold the cable up against the connector and cut the cable ½" above the connector. Separate the wires for ½" and strip ¼" insulation from each. Twist any loose strands together.

  • Do not tin (solder) the ends of the wires. Insert one wire in each of the "Power In" terminals as far as it will go, and tighten the screw as tight as it will go.

This completes the Loy's Toys power supply wiring.

Command Station/Booster to Track Socket and Programming Track Socket

The cables from the Command Station/Booster to the Track socket and/or Programming Track socket will be routed underneath the Command Station/Booster and then to the appropriate socket on the Track Connector Panel. Use 16-gauge or larger lamp cord for these connections. (See the next sub-section for track wiring if you have a PM4.) Proceed as follows:

  • For the track connection, route a cable underneath the Command Station/Booster from back to front, being careful to ensure there are no kinks and the cable is kept flat.

  • Separate the wires for ½" and strip ¼" insulation from each. Twist any loose strands together.

  • Do not tin (solder) the ends of the wires. Insert the ribbed wire into the "Rail A" terminal as far as it will go, and tighten the screw as tight as it will go. Insert the other wire into the "Rail B" terminal as far as it will go, and tighten the screw as tight as it will go.

  • Route the end of the lamp cord coming out the rear of the Command Station/Booster to the Track socket on the Track Connector Panel, leaving a little (1") slack. Separate the wires for ½" and strip ¼" insulation from each. Twist any loose strands together.

  • Do not tin (solder) the ends of the wires. Insert the ribbed wire into the wide slot terminal and solder to the terminal. Insert the other wire into the narrow slot terminal and solder to the terminal.

  • For the programming track connection, route a cable underneath the Command Station/ Booster from back to front, being careful to ensure there are no kinks and the cable is kept flat.

  • Separate the wires for ½" and strip ¼" insulation from each. Twist any loose strands together.

  • Do not tin (solder) the ends of the wires. Insert the wires into each Programming Track terminal as far as they will go, and tighten the screws as tight as they will go. Polarity does not matter here.

  • Route the end of the lamp cord coming out the rear of the Command Station/Booster to the Programming Track socket on the Track Connector Panel, leaving a little (1") slack. Separate the wires for ½" and strip ¼" insulation from each. Twist any loose strands together.

  • Do not tin (solder) the ends of the wires. Insert the wires into the terminals and solder to the terminals. Polarity does not matter here.

  • Use tie wraps to dress and secure the wires neatly, as shown in the photo above.

This completes the track and programming track wiring.

Command Station/Booster to Track Socket and Programming Track Socket via PM42

The cables from the Command Station/Booster to the PM4 44-pin connector will be routed underneath the Command Station/Booster and then to the appropriate pin(s) on the connector. The wires from the PM4 connector to the track sockets will be run along the baseboard in a neat fashion. Refer to the PM4 instructions provided by Digitrax for the correct connections at the PM4 connector for the PM4 configuration desired. Use 18-gauge or larger lamp cord for these connections. (Note: as mentioned earlier, wiring of the PM4 44-pin connector will be much easier if the connector is pre-wired prior to mounting on the board.) Proceed as follows:

  • For the track connection, route a cable underneath the Command Station/Booster from back to front, being careful to ensure there are no kinks and the cable is kept flat.

  • Separate the wires for ½" and strip ¼" insulation from each. Twist any loose strands together.

  • Do not tin (solder) the ends of the wires. Insert the ribbed wire into the "Rail A" terminal as far as it will go, and tighten the screw as tight as it will go. Insert the other wire into the "Rail B" terminal as far as it will go, and tighten the screw as tight as it will go.

  • Connect the other end of this cable to the PM42 connector as described in the PM4 instructions. Be sure to observe Rail A (ribbed wire) and Rail B (smooth wire) polarity.

  • Connect the PM42 power cable (which should be just beside the Loy's Toys power supply case, to the appropriate PM42 connector terminals.

  • Route an 18-gauge minimum wire under the Command Station/Booster from front to back. Strip ¼" insulation from the end. Do not tin (solder) the end of the wire. Insert the wire into one of the "Grnd" terminal as far as it will go and tighten the screw as tight as it will go.

  • Connect the other end of this ground wire to the "Ground" terminal of the PM4 connector. Refer to the PM42 manual for the correct terminal.

  • For each of the four PM42 track outputs connect wires, 18-gauge or larger, from the PM4 connector Rail A and Rail B terminals to a track socket. Be sure that the Rail A wire is connected to the wide pin terminal of the socket to ensure correct polarity.

  • Using tie wraps ensure the various wires and cables on the board are as neat as possible.

  • Plug the PM4 circuit card into the 44-pin connector, with the component side of the card away from the power supply (assuming you oriented the 44-pin connector on the board with the xx pins towards the front of the board.

For the Command Station/Booster to programming track socket connection, refer to the preceding section.

This completes the wiring of the DCC Mounting Board.

Connecting to the Layout

The DCC equipment units will be connected to the NTRAK layout using a cable with NTRAK power connectors at each end — a plug at the equipment end, and both plug and socket at the layout end. Because DCC Boosters should be at the geographical center of their power district, these cables can be very short — usually 4 – 5 feet long is sufficient.

The following materials are required for each cable to be constructed:

Quantity

Item

2

Cinch-Jones P-302-CCT Cable Plug

1

Cinch-Jones S-302-CCT Cable Socket

6 feet

16-gauge Lamp Cord

Note that the Cinch-Jones connectors are rated at 10A, thus they can be used with either 5A or 8A Boosters.

In assembling the cable as described below, the ribbed wire of the 16-gauge lamp cord will always be connected to the wide pin of the Cinch-Jones connector. The ensures we follow the basic standard that the Rail A terminal on the Booster is always connected to the track rail nearest the front of the module.

Assemble the cable as follows:

  • Cut the 16-gauge lamp cord so you have a 4–foot section and two 1–foot sections.

  • Split one end back ½ inch then strip ¼ inch of insulation from the ends.

  • Disassemble one P-302-CCT cable plug and slide the cover over the end of the cable. Solder the ribbed wire to the wide plug connector lug, then solder the other wire to the other plug connector lug. Slide the plug cover over the plug and re-insert the fastener pin.

  • At the other end of the 4–foot length of cable, split the end back 1 inch and strip ½ inch of insulation from each wire. Set the cable aside.

  • Take one of the 1–foot lengths of lamp cord and split one end back ½ inch then strip ¼ inch of insulation from the ends.

  • Disassemble one P-302-CCT cable plug and slide the cover over the end of the cable. Solder the ribbed wire to the wide plug connector lug, then solder the other wire to the other plug connector lug. Slide the plug cover over the plug and re-insert the fastener pin.

  • At the other end of the 1–foot length of cable, split the end back 1 inch and strip ½ inch of insulation from each wire. Set the cable aside.

  • Repeat for the other 1–foot length of lamp cord, except use the S-302-CCT cable socket.

  • The 3 separate lamp cords will now be joined together. If you intend to insulate the joint with heat shrink tubing, it should be slipped onto the long wire now. Hold the lamp cords together in a manner that the three ribbed wires can be twisted together, and then the other wires can be twisted together. Once correctly twisted together each of the two joints should be properly soldered together.

  • Dress the solder joints against the side of the lamp cord, one in each direction. Insulate the joint fully using heat shrink tubing or electrical tape. Installing a small tie wrap around the 1–foot lamp cords about 1" from the joint will prevent the joint from being accidentally pulled apart as the cable is used.

  • Using an ohmmeter, test the cable. There should be continuity between all the wide pins of the connectors and between all the narrow pins. There should be no continuity between any wide pin and any narrow pin. Resolve any problems.

The finished cable is shown in the photograph:

Mounting Board to Layout Cable

The three connectors are clearly seen. Also shown is the heat shrink tubing (black on brown at center) over the splice, and the tie wrap (white band) at the shorter end of the splice to prevent the splice from being damaged should excessive force be placed on it.

This cable is used to power the layout by plugging the single plug into the Track jack on the DCC equipment board's track connector panel, and connecting the other ends to the existing NTRAK cables for the track to be powered.

If you have a mounting board with a PM4 and four track connectors, you can join together 4 cables made per the preceding directions into a single cable using tie wraps. Before wrapping, however, identify the ends of each for red, yellow, blue and green tracks using colored tape, for ease of ensuring the correct cable connects to the correct track.

Testing the Finished Product

Now that construction is finished it is time to test everything to be sure it works as it should — the power supply is providing the correct power to the Command Station/Booster and to the PM4 (if equipped), the programming track works, and there is voltage on the track outputs at the sockets which is in phase. Doing this testing now, and fixing any problems, will make it easy at setup time at a train show, and potentially save a lot of time in troubleshooting a fault. To do these tests you will need the following equipment in addition to the DCC Mounting Board being tested:

  • DT series throttle with a known good 9V battery.

  • Command Station, if the DCC Mounting Board being tested is a Booster-only board. LocoNet cables to connect Command Station to Booster.

  • Bicolor LED Testing device to check track polarity — build per instructions in box below.

  • Shorting Cinch-Jones plug to test PM4 power sections — build per instructions in second box below.

Bicolor LED Test Device

This test device is used to check the polarity of the track output at the track sockets and compares it to the Track Status indication on the Command Station/Booster on the mounting board. The polarity of the Booster and all track sockets must be the same (assumes all PM4 sections are set up for power monitoring). To build the test device the following parts are necessary, all of which can be obtained from Radio Shack, except the Cinch-Jones plug:

  • Cinch-Jones No. P-302-CCT Plug
  • Cat. No. 276-012 Bicolor LED
  • Cat No. 271-1321 1,000 ohm ¼-watt resistor (brown-black-red)
  • Cat. No. 278-1611 heat-shrink tubing

Assemble the test device as follows:

  • Solder the 1K resistor to one LED lead fairly close to the LED, and shortening the resistor lead to ¼". Solder quickly so the LED does not get too warm. Cut a piece of insulating tubing ¼" shorter than the other LED lead and slide over that lead.

  • Solder the resistor to the wide terminal lug of the plug, and the other lead to the other terminal on the plug.

  • Remove the metal strain relief brackets from the plug cover. Slip the cover onto the plug and anchor with the pin, making sure the LED sticks out the opening.

This Test device will indicate the presence or absence of a DCC signal at the socket (orange color) and the polarity of an analog output (red or green). When an analog signal is present (address 00) the Test device LED should be the same color (red or green) as the track Status indicator LED on the Booster.

PM4 Section Test Device

This test device is used to check the PM4 power sections at the track sockets and compares it to the LED indicators on the PM4 circuit card. To build the test device the following part is necessary:

  • Cinch-Jones No. P-302-CCT Plug

Assemble the test device as follows:

  • Connect a short length of 16 gauge wire between the two terminals on the plug, and solder.

  • Remove the metal strain relief brackets from the plug cover. Slip the cover onto the plug and anchor with the pin.

  • Wrap a piece of red tape around the plug to identify it as a shorting plug.

This Test device will be used to ensure that each section of the PM4 shuts down as it should when its output is shorted, and that other sections of the PM4 remain unaffected and continue to supply power to the output of those sections.

We can now proceed with testing the DCC Mounting Board and all of its components as follows:

  • Turn off the Off/On switches (if any) at the power supply and the Command Station/Booster. Plug in the power supply to 120VAC. If using a PS515 power supply, the Power LED on the Command Station/Booster should light. If using a Loy's Toys power supply, the red LED on the power supply should light. If you then turn on the Loy's Toys power supply the green LED on the power supply should light and the Power LED on the Command Station/Booster should light.

    If these events do not happen as described, check your connections. In the case of the Loy's Toys power supply check also that the output circuit breaker (to the right of the green LED) has not tripped; reset it if necessary.

    If the Command Station/Booster Power LED is still not lighted, use a voltmeter to check for voltage at the Power In terminals — it should be in the range of 12.6 – 16 VAC. If there is no voltage at the Power In terminals you must then go back and check your power supply carefully. If you do have voltage at the Power In terminals substitute another Command Station/Booster. If the Power LED lights there may be a problem with the original Command Station/Booster.

  • Connect a DT-series throttle to one of the LocoNet ports on the Command Station (if you are testing a pure Booster you need to have a separate Command Station connected to the Booster-under-test by means of a LocoNet cable). Move the right-hand toggle switch to the top position on the Command Station/Booster to power-up the device.

  • Turn on the track power — the orange LEDs on the DT throttle should go out, and the TRACK STATUS LED should come on in the Command Station/Booster. If the Booster goes immediately to a short circuit shutdown, disconnect the wires to the PM4 at the Rail A and Rail B terminals, then try again. Do not proceed further until you can get the Command Station/Booster to turn on the track power and the TRACK STATUS LED. If a short circuit shutdown clears when the PM4 wires are disconnected, check your PM4 wiring at the 44-pin connector. Troubleshoot the wiring and test again.

  • Using the DT series throttle select address "00" and turn the speed to 99.

  • Using the LED Test device constructed earlier (above), plug it into each of the PM4 track panel connectors in sequence. The LED should light a consistent red or green across all four connectors, and should be the same as the color of the TRACK STATUS LED on the Booster. If the LED color at the track panel connector is not the same as the TRACK STATUS LED on the Booster, reverse the PM4 wires going to the Rail A and Rail B terminals on the Booster.

    Pushing the reversing button on the throttle should cause all the LEDs to change to the opposite color.

    If the LED color varies between connectors on the track panel board, check your wiring to ensure that the wire from Rail A on the Booster goes, either direct or through the PM4, as appropriate, to the wide terminal on the Cinch-Jones socket.

  • Test the programming function by connecting a programming track to the programming track connector, and programming a test locomotive.

This completes the assembly, wiring and test of the DCC Mounting Board. Once hooked up to a layout be sure to perform the coin test.

 

 

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